Q: I've got a 95 Camry V6 and I'm hearing a whining noise from the front of the engine.

A: I have seen several power steering pump failures on the Camry and also on Trucks. This noise can also be caused by the water pump or A/C compressor, see your Toyota dealer for diagnosis.

Q: I have a 91 Camry and the steering is very stiff. I've noticed that if I make a turn that the steering wheel does not return to straight.

A: My best guess is that the steering shaft universal is binding. This is a part of the steering shaft that allows for change of direction of the steering system for safety and space restrictions. It is just like a U joint for a drive shaft but not provision was made for lubrication (no manufacture does that I know of), replacement is suggested or spraying with Toyota penetrating oil will free it up for a while.

Q: I have a 94 Corolla and when I'm in slow turns like a parking lot I get a noise from my front end.

A: Have your Toyota dealer take you for a ride in their parking lot. I suggest this to insure that it is not a wheel bearing failing. I suspect that you have Goodyear tires and for some reason when these get to a certain wear point make a noise just like a wheel bearings failure. Many a wheel bearing have been changed only to have the noise still there. There is no real solution short of tire replacement, but normally the tires are only 1/2 worn.

Q: When I make turns with my Tercel I hear a clicking noise from the right front wheel area.

A: If I had to guess you have a worn front CV joint on the right front axle. What has happened is one of the four constant velocity joints has failed, normally due to a torn boot that protects the joint. See illustration of FWD parts. Your repair requires that the axle be removed and inspected for amount of damage, replacement may be required.

Q: My tires start to show wear after a short time I've had the alignment inspected but each time the wear continues, any ideas?

A: Several things come to mind. Tires have an unusual character in that once they start to wear they continue to wear in that pattern, maybe at a reduced rate, until they are replaced. All alignments are not created equal and is left up to something you can't see until much later. My advice is to go to a Toyota dealer since their equipment is normally up to date and they know the product. I will say that you have the greatest control over tire wear by keeping at least 28-30 psi of air in the tires, buy a $4.00 gauge if needed, you may save $200.00.

Q: I go to my dealer regularly and once a year I ask for an alignment but they inspect my tires and say the wear is good and advise me that its not needed. I was always told that I should get an alignment each year, what do you think. John C.

A: When I started in mechanics we all thought we needed yearly alignments and this may have come form our fathers and they got it from their fathers, when the vehicles were not the same. Our vehicles are so much better and built so well that yearly alignments are not needed. If you think about it how fragile is the front end that even one pot hole or bump will throw it out of alignment. The garages that specialize in alignments want you to believe that and the poor quality of work we must endure have kept that myth alive. Listen to your dealer because he sounds honest and is probably rotating your tires and keeping the inflation up, which is the best front end repair you can do on a regular basis.

Q: I went to my Toyota dealer for an alignment for an alignment and they asked me why did I want an alignment. I said that I feel an vibration at 45 mph and above, they suggested that the tires be balanced and maybe rotated. It worked and I'm happy but how did they know? John K.

A: Good question but that's why you selected that Toyota dealer to repair your investment. They were honest enough to know that an alignment would not correct your vibration. Alignments normally will not correct a vibration unless the tires are being severely scuffed up while you are driving.

Q: I hear a strange grinding noise from the front on my Corolla and it seem worse when I turn right. Is it a wheel bearing and how do I change it. AM

A: It is very possibly a wheel bearing that is failing. You can tell normally which one is causing the noise by which turning direction causes the noise. In your case since you are turning right it probably the left wheel bearing, since tats the direction the weight is shifting to the left on a right turn. You probably will not be able to do this yourself since the bearing is pressed into the spindle and needs to be pressed into the spindle for assembly. You may or may not need to replace the wheel hub that makes up the center of the bearing, sometimes when the bearing wears it damages the hub.

Q: My 98 Camry is leaking power steering fluid. The dealer took care of it and told me that they are seeing a lot of problems with the power steering systems. Is that true? DC.

A: The good news is that you were on your way quickly, the bad news is that there is a problem with the power steering leaking with the Camry and Trucks. The Camry has a lot of leakage from a small copper sealing ring at the pump. Some of these have been mistaken for leaking lines but normally installing new copper washers will solve the problem. Toyota came out with a service bulletin that requires replacing the line and sealing rings. We are starting to see some steering racks fail at an early mileage from internal leakage. The power steering pumps also are starting to fail at mileages under 60,000. We first started to see 4X4 trucks now Camry's are failing. The warranty is only 3 years or 36 months so most are being replaced at the owners expense. Toyota has assisted some owners with a portion of the repair as a "goodwill" gesture. These parts are very expensive (400-700), if you need some sources for less expensive parts that carry a longer warranty let me know.

Q: Is it normal for a Camry's front tires to wear on the outside?. I did have a front strut replaced at my Toyota dealer about 12000 mi ago (it blew a seal). I do rotate every 5000 mi. The tires are not the best and have about 15000 mi on them.

A:The tires should not wear uneven on any surface.
Normally the outside wear is an indication of camber wear (the tire is leaning in) or toe in wear (pigeon toed).
Camber is not normally a factor but can be adjusted somewhat. The vehicle has front and rear alignments if both are not correct it can cause wear. In fact the problem may be in the rear but we associate wear from the front only.
You may want to visit your dealer or some alignment specialist and have it checked.
Once the tire wear starts no alignment will stop the wear, just slow it down until you need to replace the tires.
Note: your alignment will not go out if you do normal driving even pot holes, if it was done correctly it will hold up, the suspension is more durable than customers think and its the shops who aren't sure of the work quality that limit their responsibility. If you damage a tire or bend a rim you will need an alignment.

Q: I just had my Sienna serviced as it approaches the 7.5K mile mark... I do not have a Toyota dealership nearby, so I have a local mechanic who is Toyota certified handle the maintenance on both my Sienna as well as my '99 Camry... Anyway... the tires were rotated on the Sienna (they were balanced prior to remounting) and filled to the correct tire pressure (I believe 32 psi).
My question is this... the
low tire pressure indicator light on the dashboard comes on after the engine is on for about three minutes... I took it back to the shop where we looked at the tires as well as remeasured the tire pressure on all the tires... all were at 32psi.
When I started the engine again, the light went off... but about three minutes later, it was
back on again... Does something need to be reset after the tires are rotated??? John

A: I'll answer the question only after you look in the owners manual first. It is explained there on why it came on and what to do to reset it.
Deal? I have to add some to this topic. It seems that I upset one of my site visitors by making him pull out the owners manual and read it. To prevent others from that dreaded fate let me explain how the system works. The low tire warning light gets it's signal from the Anti-Lock Brake sensors. They can tell the computer that one or more of the wheels are not going as fast as the others. The causes can vary from low air pressure, different brands of tires on the vehicle, worn tires mixed with new tires and so on. To reset the light you must be stopped and the engine off. Turn the ignition key to the ON position (do not start the engine). Then locate the reset button under the left side of the dash and hold it in until the low pressure light starts to flash then stops. You are done. At this point you should have corrected the cause of the light coming on or if just the tires were rotated it may be necessary to reset the light. I hope this helps more.

Q: I have received a lot of questions about noise from the front end over some slight bumps or washboard roads. These can affect the Avalon, Camry, Solara, Sienna and Corolla.

A: Many of these noises are caused by the inner tie rod end in these vehicles. The models affected and covered in Service Bulletins are: 95-00 Avalon, 97-00 Camry (USA built), 99-00 Solara, 98-00 Sienna, 98-99 Corolla. You may bear a squeaking type noise going over bumps that may go away after some driving. Your dealer has the information to assist you or you can ask me for the parts numbers. In Camry's the noise can also be caused by the upper strut bearings. It generally takes a "speed bump" type of condition to hear it but pot holes will do in a pinch. It really affected the 97-99 models and Toyota dealers know of the solution. It's not cheap since the strut has to be removed and the new bearing assy installed but it's the only way to solve that noise.